Moore About Franklin, October 2010

October 26th, 2010

Posted by marykate in Newsletter on October 26th, 2010

Franklin Civil War Days-Harlinsdale Park was the site of Civil War Days on October 15-17, 2010.  This should start the stage for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin.  The battle lasted only five hours but had 10,000 casualties, eleven Medal of Honor winners and was larger than Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.

Franklin Civil War Days-Harlinsdale Park was the site of Civil War Days on October 15-17, 2010. This should start the stage for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin. The battle lasted only five hours but had 10,000 casualties, eleven Medal of Honor winners and was larger than Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.

Healthcare Reform-Prior to passage of the Healthcare Reform Act, our system of delivery was criticized for being too expensive, having too many errors, increasing uninsured, lacked adequate emphasis on disease prevention, contained too few primary care physicians, and was behind on Health Information Technology.
 
It is clear that many of the issues that led to the reform are not included in the act. Many of the effects of reform are still unknown and are being challenged by a number of different fronts including an energized electorate and judicial challenges from a number of states. We are beginning to see what some of the issues may be and in particular some of the issues that our State may experience.
 
There currently are six million people in Tennessee. About half of these are currently covered by their employers and there are roughly 700,000 Medicare recipients in the State. TennCare has about 1.2 million enrollees (about 20% of the population) and we have roughly 600,000 uninsured.
Based on the eligibility benchmark of 133% of poverty level income, there may be another 330,000 new enrollees by 2019. The exact financial costs for TennCare is still not completely clear but estimates are that it could mean a State obligation of $716 million dollars and possibly up to $2 billion dollars with the Federal Government contributing in the range of $11.7 billion dollars.
 
Other concerns are the incentives that exist in the act may actually be disincentives. It appears that the penalties for not buying insurance and for employers’ nonparticipation may be small enough that may be cheaper to pay the fine or penalty than conform to the requirements. Governor Bredesen recently reported in the Wall Street Journal a cost shifting away from businesses and more to the insurance pools and the taxpayers.
 
Insurers are concerned that their payer mix may go from a mix that spreads the risk over a healthier cohort may turn into a mix where the burden to pay is placed on the younger and healthier individuals who will have higher premiums and even more discourage their participation.  Lastly, there appears to be nothing in the bill that curbs cost in the future and in 2013 there is a feature that adds an additional 3.8% tax on unearned income.
 
There are issues that we will need to address besides the financial aspect of the bill. The main challenge will be to develop healthier lifestyles among consumers and engage them more in their own health.  Care will need to be more patient centered, less fragmented, and patients and families better informed.  There remains a concern for access which may be filled by technology, physician extenders, and foreign medical graduates.
 
Flood Mitigation-The public process for buyout of substantially damaged homes in the flood plain has begun. The last date to apply is October 25, 2010 and thus far about eight people have made submissions. Information is available on the City website or by call Building and Neighborhood Services.
 
Crime Report Analysis Tool- Go to www.crimereports.com  to view a new tool that the Franklin police are using to track and control crime. This program has a consumer side that allows people to view crimes by date and location, identify sex offender locations, and receive crime alert e-mails. The police will use a more sophisticated version to track crime trends and to better allocate their resources.
 
2011 Water/wastewater study-The City of Franklin has about 18,000 water customers and 22,000 wastewater customers. Every year the City authorizes a study to look at our rates that we charge for water and sewer. The intent is that rates support the ongoing maintenance of the system and also provide capital for expansion and improvement. In other words, it should be a service that pays for itself. At the present time for a number of reasons, it is not fully funding the cost to deliver the service and meet our capital requirements. This study will help us understand what is fair and equitable. We are currently operating at a 90% recovery rate and we would hope to reach full recovery rates over a five year period. When compared to other water systems, our rates are priced generally well below other providers and communities.  For example, Brentwood’s minimum bill is $14.53 while City of Franklin’s is $10.05. The study suggests reaching full recovery over a five year period.
 
Wilson Pike and McEwen intersection-The City is proceeding with design of the bridge for this intersection that will improve traffic in this area in the future. It will take approximately twelve to eighteen months to complete after awarding the contract.
 
Financials-
  • Bond Sale-The sale of our 2010 series refunding bonds took place recently and orders were taken by our underwriters, Morgan Keegan, Robert W. Baird, and Fifth Third Bank.  Most of our maturities (years 2012 through 2020) were oversubscribed, meaning we had three or four dollars of orders for each dollar of bond being sold.  That strong order position enabled us to slightly reduce the yield on each maturity through 2020.  The longer maturities, 2021-2024, sold out but did not generate orders as strong as in the shorter maturities.  The overall true interest cost (TIC) on the bonds was 2.57%. 
  • October Sales Tax results.  Sales tax remittance from the State of Tennessee for October was greater for the seventh consecutive month with revenue being $ 1,774,021 compared to $1,711,487 for the same month in 2009. This represented a 3.7% increase.
 
 Citizens Government Academy-Annually the City offers an academy to educate the public about the functions and departments of City government. Congratulations to these recent graduates: John Besser, Pat Burns, Darci Caesar, Zack Daniel, Miles Mennell, Lydia Miller, Jennifer Ross, Jon Stephens, Joe Storey and Christine White. Watch for announcements of future academies on the City website and the newspaper.
 
Recycling statistics continue to climb.  Attached is our weekly tracking sheet regarding Blue Bag recycling participation.  Over the first 12 weeks of the program we have seen a steady increase in our participation (% of residents using Blue Bags in a given week) and in our diversion rate (the amount of weight diverted through Blue Bag recycling).  In the first few weeks of the program, we were in the mid- to upper-20% range in participation.  This participation rate has grown steadily and has reached 43.35% and 42% in the past two weeks.  Diversion has also grown steadily ranging from 8.2% in week #2 to 13.96% in week #11.  Our target assumption in considering Blue Bag was 15% diversion rate.  We will continue to track our performance and target further public education to increase participation and encourage more recycling by those already participating.

Paid for by Ken Moore for Mayor, Lisa Lu Smith treasurer.

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